The Margin of Error            

I didn’t stay in my retail buyers position for very long, mostly because I got tired of only dealing with the same half dozen people every single day. I moved to a sales position for an online company, but could only deal with CLICK HERE as my sales pitch for so long. Eventually I made my way over to selling insurance, as any salesman worth his salt has done at least once. I made it through that career for about a year before I had to leave before the tarnish on my soul became too noticeable. Eventually I made my way to electronics sales for a well established company. This was working on the other side of the table from my former buying position, and I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t an exciting proposition right off the start.

A benefit to being on the other side of the position you used to be in, is that you know almost every trick that the person on the other end is going to pull, and where you can go for information that either supports their claim, or outs them as frauds. Unfortunately for them, a lot of people chose the fraud route, which is what I meant before when I said that the truth can be your most valuable weapon. You see, when you’re caught in a lie in sales, you have a certain amount of relenting that needs to be made up for, which can seriously cut into your profits. As long as you remain honest, and that honesty holds up to scrutiny you still have firm footing when it comes to negotiation.

After a while I began to make a name for myself in the sales market as dealing with these exact people played right into my hands. I had various nicknames floating around regarding my skills, most being some derivative of psychic, when in fact it just came from knowing what the other person was going to say off of experience, not off some divine power. Yet, having that type of reputation also works in your favor when it comes to sales, as most people are less willing to haggle with you if they think you’re a medium of some sort.

There are a million other tips and tactics that I could share with you here in order to help you progress in your sales career, but I think the easiest and most honest way to surmise it all would be to say that unless you feel the passion that comes with the job, you should look elsewhere. There are many similar careers that offer a lot less stress and room for failure. You need to know who you are, what you’re comfortable with, and whether or not you’re willing to make some compromises. This is by no means a judgement of character, but a plain truth from someone who has been there for a while, the tarnish will form one way or another, but you get to control how much that is.

First Figures            

I didn’t start off my career as a direct salesman per se, but rather working in retail. It could be made to argue that the two jobs are quite similar, and while they do share some similar groundwork, there is a much larger degree from suggestive selling, to outright sales. The person selling you your computer is a suggestive seller, while the person buying the computers from a manufacturer for your company to sell, is actually in sales. There are many more little intricate differences but that isn’t the point of this flashback. You see, I worked for an office supply chain, which catered to mostly other businesses. When you get your start by selling things to other sales people, you cut your teeth pretty quickly.

While we did do some price negotiation on the floor, it was very minimal and usually only in the single digit percentage, when I moved up a position to become a buyer for our company, I got to really get my feet wet in large scale negotiation. This was a point where I got to start talking figures in the six digit range for particular suppliers, and when it came time to work on what we called return to vendor items, then the haggling got right cut throat. This allowed me to learn the fine aspect of give and take when it came to buying and selling. If you don’t have the capability to do so, your tenure in sales isn’t going to last long.

Much like stated in The Gambler, you need to know when to walk away, and sales is no different. You can actually turn the tide on a sale really well if you know when to bluff walking away, but you also run the risk of having your bluff called and walking away with nothing. Knowing the person across the bargaining table from you is key, and knowing what you can get away with in the realm of a bluff is paramount. You will often see this tactic employed in car sales, for the buyer, or seller to feign leaving the deal on the table.

In my growth in sales there were many times that I had to play this card, and it worked about as well as flipping a coin on the matter. No matter who you’re dealing with, there is always a sway room where they feel that their end of the stick is simply too short, and no matter what you attempt, your ruse will get called. Mastering this art can be one of the first steps in mastering sales, but in truth, I find that being honest, even when you’re trying to be dishonest is one of the best skills a salesman can have. What I mean by this is that even if you’re not speaking the outright truth, as long as you’re speaking your truth with conviction, the mark will know it. This will greatly increase you’re chance at productive sales, for you at least.